Key Concepts and Principles of the Enneagram
Mon Feb 27 2023
The Enneagram is divided into nine distinct personality types, each with its own unique set of traits, strengths, and weaknesses. Furthermore there are 3 triads or centers of intelligence relating to 3 core emotions. From there the system goes deeper exploring where each type goes to in stress and comfort.
The Nine Personality Types
The Enneagram identifies nine distinct personality types, each represented by a number. These numbers are:
- The Perfectionist
- The Helper
- The Achiever
- The Individualist
- The Investigator
- The Loyalist
- The Enthusiast
- The Challenger
- The Peacemaker
Each of these types has a distinct worldview and set of behaviors, which are shaped by their core fears, desires, and motivations. By understanding these core motivations, individuals can gain a deeper understanding of their own behavior and how it impacts others.
The Centers of Intelligence
The Enneagram also identifies three centers of intelligence, which correspond to different aspects of the human experience. These centers are:
The Gut Center: This center is associated with instinctual drives and survival. Individuals who are driven by this center tend to be action-oriented and focused on physical sensations. The core emotion associated with the gut center is anger and types 8, 9, and 1 are in it.
The Heart Center: This center is associated with emotions and relationships. Individuals who are driven by this center tend to be sensitive to the feelings of others and place a high value on connection and relationships. The core emotion associated with the heart center is shame and types 2, 3, and 4 are in it.
The Head Center: This center is associated with thinking and analysis. Individuals who are driven by this center tend to be logical and focused on problem-solving. The core emotion associated with the head center is fear and types 5, 6, and 7 are in it.
In addition to the nine personality types and the three centers of intelligence, the Enneagram also identifies three instincts that drive human behavior. These instincts are:
Self-preservation: This instinct drives individuals to take care of themselves and ensure their own survival. People driven by this instinct tend to focus on their own well-being and security.
Social: This instinct drives individuals to connect with others and form strong relationships. People driven by this instinct tend to be social, outgoing, and focused on building connections with others.
Sexual: This instinct drives individuals to seek intense experiences and deep connections with others. People driven by this instinct tend to be passionate and focused on physical intimacy and emotional connection.
Learn more about the subtypes here
The Enneagram also recognizes that individuals can exhibit traits of the personality types adjacent to their core type. These adjacent types are known as “wings” and can add depth and complexity to an individual’s personality. For example, an individual who identifies as a Type 2 Helper may exhibit traits of both Type 1 Perfectionist and Type 3 Achiever.
Finally, the Enneagram also recognizes that individuals may experience growth and stress in different ways, depending on their personality type. The system identifies connecting lines that link the nine personality types and show how individuals can move towards growth or stress. For example, a Type 5 Investigator may move towards growth by adopting traits of the Type 8 Challenger or towards stress by adopting traits of the Type 7 Enthusiast.
Time for the obligatory reminder that the Enneagram should be used as a tool. Helping individuals gain insight into their personality, motivations, and behavior patterns is a difficult task not to be taken lightly. However by understanding all the above, the nine types, the three centers of intelligence, the three instincts, wings, and connecting lines, individuals can gain a deeper understanding of themselves, others, and improve their relationships, and ultimately grow as people.
|Type||Characteristic role||Ego fixation||Holy idea||Trap||Basic fear||Basic desire||Temptation||Vice/Passion||Virtue||Stress/ Disintegration||Security/ Integration|
|1||Reformer, Perfectionist||Resentment||Perfection||Perfection||Corruptness, imbalance, being bad||Goodness, integrity, balance||Hypocrisy, hypercriticism||Anger||Serenity||4||7|
|2||Helper, Giver||Flattery||Freedom, Will||Freedom||Being unlovable||To feel worthy of love||Deny own needs, manipulation||Pride||Humility||8||4|
|3||Achiever, Performer||Vanity||Hope, Law||Efficiency||Worthlessness||To feel valuable||Pushing self to always be “the best”||Deceit||Truthfulness||9||6|
|4||Individualist, Romantic||Melancholy||Origin||Authenticity||Having no identity or significance||To be uniquely themselves||To overuse imagination in search of self||Envy||Equanimity (Emotional Balance)||2||1|
|5||Investigator, Observer||Stinginess||Omniscience, Transparency||Observer||Helplessness, incapability, incompetence||Mastery, understanding||Replacing direct experience with concepts||Avarice||Detachment||7||8|
|6||Loyalist, Loyal Skeptic||Cowardice||Faith||Security||Being without support or guidance||To have support and guidance||Indecision, doubt, seeking reassurance||Fear||Courage||3||9|
|7||Enthusiast, Epicure||Planning||Plan, Work, Wisdom||Idealism||Being unfulfilled, trapped, deprived||To be satisfied and content||Thinking fulfillment is somewhere else||Gluttony||Sobriety||1||5|
|8||Challenger, Protector||Vengeance||Truth||Justice||Being controlled, harmed, violated||To gain influence and be self-sufficient||Thinking they are completely self-sufficient||Lust||Innocence||5||2|
|9||Peacemaker, Mediator||Indolence||Love||Seeker||Loss, fragmentation, separation||Wholeness, peace of mind||Avoiding conflicts, avoiding self-assertion||Sloth||Action||6||3|